A new opportunistic community-based strategy was launched in Japan in April 2014 to detect lifestyle-related diseases, including diabetes, by creating Specimen Measurement Offices (SMOs). SMOs offer walk-in fingertip HbA1c testing. This article aimed to assess the value-for-money of HbA1c testing services at SMOs by conducting a cost-effectiveness analysis.
We compared two scenarios: 1) status quo, defined as HbA1c testing that is available only through conventional screening, and 2) HbA1c testing available at SMOs as a complement to the status quo scenario. The model consisted of a screening module with a decision tree and a disease progression module with a Markov model. We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (i.e., cost per quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) over the lifetime analytic horizon as the primary end point of the cost-effectiveness analysis. In this model, we assumed the participant cohort to be people 40–74 years of age who sought walk-in fingertip HbA1c testing at SMOs on the premises of community pharmacies. Costs and outcomes were discounted at a rate of 3%. The cost-effectiveness was analyzed from a societal perspective.
The incremental cost per individual for those 40–74 years of age was estimated to be –527 U.S. dollars (USD) (–52,722 Japanese yen [JPY]) for HbA1c testing at SMOs compared with the status quo. Incremental effectiveness was estimated to be 0.0203 QALYs for HbA1c testing at SMOs compared with the status quo. Therefore, this cost-effectiveness analysis showed that compared with the status quo, HbA1c testing at SMOs was more effective and had lower cost for the population studied.
We consider our results to be robust because most simulations were under the threshold of USD 50,000 (JPY 5,000,000) per QALYs gained, by sensitivity analysis. These results will be useful to managers of pharmacies or other health institutions and/or policy makers in local government.